Natl. Elder Justice Coalition to COVID-19 Task Force: Help Stop Vaccine Scams

The bipartisan Elder Justice Coalition today called on the White House COVID-19 Task Force to include warnings about vaccine-related scams in their daily briefing.   In an email to Jeff Zients, Coordinator of the White House’s COVID-19 Response Task Force, the Coalition said, “We are receiving daily reports about older adults being subjected to and victimized by vaccine-related scams, such as being asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine, for a position on a vaccine waiting list, or to get early access. Others are asked to schedule appointments through unverified platforms in a bid to receive payment and older adults’ personal information.   “It is important to use the platform that the Task Force has to warn older adults about these scams to prevent future victimization from occurring. We hope warnings can be made part of the COVID-19 daily briefings starting this week,” the email concluded.   Bob Blancato, National Coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, said, “It is especially disturbing that these scams are proliferating. In addition to financial exploitation, the scams represent their own forms of psychological and physical elder abuse. We would be especially upset if in response to these scams, a trusting older adult went to a site, waited for some significant period, possibly outdoors in the cold, only to be turned away.”   The Coalition noted that Congress passed legislation which is now being implemented by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) which will direct resources to state adult protective services agencies for “establishing new or improving existing processes for responding to alleged scams and frauds, especially related to COVID-19 vaccine or cure scams.”   Blancato commented, “The ACL work is important, but we need to do way more to raise awareness about these scams.”